Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stage 10 Périgueux / Bergerac - Kittel Sitting Pretty with Win Number Four

After a well earned rest day in Dordogne after the carnage of stage 9 in the Alps, the Tour resumed from Périgueux to Bergerac in the beautiful south west of France.

The sprinters were thankful for the flat stage after the hell of Sunday. Normally flat stage means boring but not today as the Tour made its way past gorgeous hilltop villages and more chateaux than you can point a lance at.

As the Tour choppers brought us gorgeous pictures of the chateaux, Mattie explained that Tour organisers do the polite thing and ask the owners for permission to film them. Most owners oblige and wouldn’t it be an awful job travelling the whole Tour route stopping at chateaux to chat to the owners?

Mattie noted that he spoke about 32 chateaux, a personal record and didn’t complain once about ‘not ANOTHER chateau’ after the tenth. Post broadcasting I see another career as a tour guide for Keeno.

After ten stages do I detect a little bit of tension in the caravan of commentary? As we know Mattie is very particular about neatly ordering his highlighters on his desk. Robbie dared to knock one them out of place and if there’s one you shouldn’t do is touch Mattie’s highlighters.

Mattie pressed on with his chateaux commentary and noted that the unusual ‘cliff castle’ Maison Forte de Reignac has an exhibition of torture and capital punishment – which sounds just like the Gruppetto on a huge mountain stage.

Back to the incidental racing commentary and Mattie noted the riders were ‘tapping out the tempo'. Mattie? Who taught you?

But discussion inevitably turned to the drama of stage 9. Richie Porte addressed the world from his hospital bed thanking his lucky stars injuries were not worse after the horrific crash on the descent of Mont du Chat.

Porte is vowing to be back on the bike by the end of the year, and no doubt with his level of drive and determination, he will.

The most positive story to emerge from the stage was Rigoberto Uran’s narrow win when everything was stacked him. We know he had a problem with his derailleur but it emerged he had a pesky race radio earpiece on the loose to deal with as well.

He may not be a household name but he proved to the world he’s a rider of the highest calibre, and I reckon if Rigoberto Uran's had leg fallen off in during the stage he'd still have found a way to win.

And Mattie and Robbie doffed their hats to Warren Barguil, who put in a massive effort only to fall just short to Uran and earned the most combative award. Perhaps for a huge mountain stage it should be renamed 'the most biggest job of work' award.

Not that Bergerac.

Back to the ‘battle of the chateaux’ and Troll DJ couldn't help itself but to bring out Shakin’ Stevens version of ‘This Old House'. Oh Troll DJ, you slay me!

Chateaux watch was rudely interrupted by the intermediate sprint and if we hadn’t noticed the two man breakaway of Yoann Offredo and Elie Gesbert quietly collected the points.

Good to hear Robbie’s French is coming along since last year's Tour and learnt that 'I had my legs around my neck' is French for 'turning yourself inside out'.

After Mattie ran out of chateaux to talk about it was back to the race and despite Offredo and Gesbert’s heroic effort, the two were inevitably reeled in to the peloton at 7km to go.

The sprint teams made their way up front and the peloton was moving at a leg stinging 50 to 60 km/h through the streets of Bergerac. Nacer Bouhanni did his level best to find a way to earn a disqualification by taking a swing at Kiwi Jack Bauer.

Marcel Kittel notched up his fourth win of this Tour, that's 40% of the stages so far. Chris Froome looks to stay in yellow all the way to Paris. 

And the result of Bouhanni's punch? A one minute time penalty and 200 Swiss Franc fine. 

Go figure.

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